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Modern Marketing Data & Privacy Data

What you need to know about WhatsApp’s 3 new privacy features


By Kendra Clark | Senior Reporter

August 10, 2022 | 4 min read

The Meta-owned WhatsApp has rolled out a suite of new features to protect user privacy and enhance security, including screenshot blocking and new notification controls.

Man holding iPhone

WhatsApp users will soon enjoy a slew of new privacy-focused controls / Cotton

Meta announced Tuesday that its end-to-end encrypted messaging platform WhatsApp will see a handful of new updates designed to give users increased privacy as well as autonomy over their experience.

The update will include three key changes:

1. Visibility into online status

Users will gain the option to select who can see when they’re active on the app. Using a set of new controls, users can choose whether all WhatsApp users, their contacts or only specific contacts will see when they are online and when they were last active. Alternatively, users can go fully incognito and turn off visibility for all other users. The change will roll out this month.

2. Screenshot blocking for disappearing messages

WhatsApp is adding new privacy tools to its View Once feature, which allows users to share ephemeral media that disappear after the recipient has opened them once. The app will soon enable users to block screenshotting of View Once messages. The feature is still in the testing phase and will roll out soon, per the company; a precise timeline has not been clarified.

3. Notification-free group exiting

Beginning this month, users will be able to leave groups privately and will be able to make changes to who can see whether they’re active. Only group administrators will be notified when a specific user decides to exit.

Meta says the new features add to an overarching, privacy-centric philosophy that has guided the app’s development. “Over the years,” the company wrote in a blog post, “we’ve continued to add features like disappearing messages that self-destruct, end-to-end encrypted backups when you want to save your chat history, two-step verification for added security and the ability to block and report unwanted chats.”

The new tools and features announced this week are “part of how we work to keep your conversations secure on WhatsApp,” the post read.

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